Leighton Chairman and CEO Abruptly Step Down
Leighton Holdings' Chairman David Mortimer and CEO David Stewart have abruptly stepped down from their posts with immediate effect.
While Leighton issued a formal statement regarding Mortimer’s resignation, The Australian reported that Stewart is leaving after only a short eight months as Leighton CEO. The newspaper also divulged that it is understood that Leighton Asia managing director Hamish Tyrwhitt will succeed David Stewart as CEO. Tyrwhitt was the reported favored successor by former Leighton CEO Wal King. Current Leighton CFO Peter Gregg had been mentioned as a possible successor as CEO, but he will likely remain in his position.
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The resignation of Mortimer and apparent axing of Stewart come just months after Leighton reported a net loss of $405.7 million, its worst-ever profit. The company also issued more than $1 billion in writedowns due to extensive costs and delays on a number of its significant contracts such as the Airport Link project in Brisbane.
“Whilst the last 12 months have been very demanding, I am pleased to be leaving after the Board has addressed legacy issues and has been able to announce a positive forward outlook for the Company. I wish the Leighton Group well in its future endeavours,” said Mortimer. An Independent Non-executive Director since 1997, Mortimer was elected Chairman of Leighton in June 2007.
Leighton Holdings has high hopes for the future, forecasting a return to profit in full-year 2012 and a net profit of between $600 million and $650 million.